Chief Executive John Lee said on Sunday that there's a need to conduct more PCR Covid tests for high-risk groups to rein in the outbreak.
The daily caseload has been hovering close to 2,000 in the past few days – some of those reported by people who had administered rapid antigen tests (RATs) – and Lee said there was a need to cut transmission chains by turning to "more reliable" PCR tests.
"It's not that rapid tests are bad. When you need to test a lot of people, and you don't have enough manpower or resources, RATs are good," the new CE said on a TVB programme.
"But rapid tests are not as sensitive as PCR tests. So people may be wrongly at ease, they think they're okay, but they're actually infected."
Lee stressed that reopening the border with the mainland and reopening with other places were not mutually exclusive, and said he was trying to convince mainland authorities to give Hong Kong people some "limited convenience measures".
Meanwhile, the former security chief said he has no timetable for the legislation on Article 23 of the Basic Law to enact the city’s own national security law.
The government previously said relevant work would be finished by the end of the current Legco term, which runs until the end of 2025.
"I won't set a timetable because legal research takes time. We also need to look at the developments of the international situation, to see where new national security threats come from," he said.
When asked whether social developments have a higher priority over Article 23, Lee said the social unrest in 2019 showed that security threats could emerge suddenly, and he'll try to strike a balance between "getting prepared for danger" and making society happy.
Lee also told the interviewer that one of his top priorities is to stop the queues for public housing from getting longer.
He said he has new ideas to tackle the housing problem and believes they can be revealed 100 days into his office after internal government discussions.